On irony, ski wax, and dressing professionally

There comes a time in life when one must iron something. A wedding, perhaps, especially one you’re standing up in, or a funeral. An interview, a big presentation at work. I’m not saying I enjoy ironing. I’m just saying you have to do it sometimes.

Here is where my husband and I fundamentally disagree. Apparently there was no iron in the Hazard-Firer household during his childhood, which I guess shouldn’t surprise me coming from a couple of poets who named their youngest child Bix.

I rarely have to iron things anymore because I work at home. It is generally considered acceptable in my office if my pants and shirt are wrinkled, because a) they are stained sweatpants and a hole-riddled t-shirt from my alma mater, respectively and also b) I am the boss.

But invariably, when Bix announces he has a meeting or presentation or networking event the following day, he asks, “What should I wear?” Then our conversation goes something like this:

ME: I don’t know. What did you wear last time?

HIM: I don’t know. Last time I was underdressed.

ME, HANDING HIM A PAIR OF REASONABLY CLEAN PANTS AND A DRESS SHIRT: Here. You should iron these.

HIM: Really? I don’t think they’re that bad. [they are]

ME: They are.

HIM: Okay, I’ll just [hang them in the bathroom while I shower/put them in the dryer].

Really. He is convinced that hanging clothes in the bathroom will “steam the wrinkles out,” which is patently untrue. The latter method might work if he immediately removed them at the end of the dryer cycle, which I have never known him to do.

I can’t blame this entirely on Bix’s provincial ideas about ironing, because we don’t currently own an iron. Well, we sort of do.

I bought one two years ago when I got an office job, figuring I’d occasionally have to look semi-professional. One afternoon, Bix called me at work.

“Do we have an iron?” he asked. Thrilled that he was finally going to start ironing (“Think of all the free time I’ll have when I no longer feel compelled to meddle in his affairs!”), I told him where to find it.

I should not have gotten excited.

BIX, HOLDING IRON DRIPPING WITH PURPLE SKI WAX: I waxed our skis!

ME: What are you doing?! That’s for ironing clothes.

HIM: What? I’ve never used it to iron clothes. [pause] I mean, you could still use it to iron clothes.

ME: You definitely couldn’t. It is ruined for everything but waxing skis now. But thanks for waxing our skis, I guess.

HIM, PATTING ME ON THE SHOULDER, AS IF THIS COULD NOT HAVE BEEN AVOIDED: That’s okay. You can just hang your clothes in the bathroom while you shower, like I do. See, it steams the wrinkles out! [points to his pants, which are wrinkle-free because I ironed them that morning] 

I quit my job shortly thereafter and never bothered to buy another iron. When the occasion really calls for it, I swing by my parents’ house under some pretense (“Just thought I’d see if we got any mail delivered here! Oh, hey, mind if I use your iron real quick?”) because I am somewhat marginal.

Still, things could be worse. Life is short; may your clothes be ever slightly wrinkled and your skis always waxed to perfection.

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